Published On: Fri, Mar 20th, 2015

Tunis museum terrorist attack: 9 arrests, links to Libya as ISIS to blame

Tunisian authorities have arrested nine people allegedly linked to Wednesday’s attack apparently targeting tourists at a museum in Tunis that killed at least 21 people and injured 47 others.

“Security forces were able to arrest four people directly linked to the [terrorist] operation and five suspected of having ties to the cell,” the presidency said in a statement on Thursday.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group has reportedly released audio recordings claiming responsibility over the attack at the National Bardo Museum.

photo/Islamic State flag

photo/Islamic State flag

Earlier on Thursday, officials identified two of the gunmen as Yassine Laabidi and Hatem Khachnaoui, both trained at camps in Libya, an official said Friday.

The suspects were activated from sleeper cells in Tunisia, Security Minister Rafik Chelly said. He did not say who activated them.

“They left the country illegally last December for Libya, and they were able to train with weapons there,” Chelly told private broadcaster AlHiwar Ettounsi TV.

In an interview with France’s RTL radio, Prime Minister Habib Essid said Tunisia was working with other countries to learn more about the attackers.

Both men were killed by security services in a raid after they attacked the museum.

Details about the attackers’ identity emerged as President Beij Caid Essebsi vowed to wage a “merciless war against terrorism” after the gunmen killed 19 foreign tourists and two Tunisians in a daylight attack.

As the international community denounced Wednesday’s assault, Essebsi said Tunisia would fight “to our last breath”.

“I want the Tunisian people to understand that we are in a war against terrorism and that these savage minorities do not frighten us,” said Essebsi, who visited some of the dozens being treated for wounds in a Tunis hospital.

The gunmen opened fire on the tourists – including visitors from Japan, Italy, France, Australia, Colombia, Poland and Spain – as they got off a bus then chased them inside the museum, said Prime Minister Habib Essid.

A Spanish man and a pregnant Spanish woman, who survived the attack by hiding in the museum all night in fear, were retrieved safely on Thursday morning by security forces, Tunisia’s Health Minister Said Aidi told The Associated Press news agency.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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